(JOLIET, Ill.) -- Brad Keselowski took home the checkered flag in the first stop in the race for the Sprint Cup championship on Sunday, beating Jimmie Johnson at Chicagoland Speedway.
Keselowski took the lead with 35 laps remaining and never looked back. The win was his first career win in the Sprint Cup chase.
"Round one of a heavyweight title bought," Keselowski told ESPN after the race in victory lane. "It's good to win it and it feels great but there is a lot of rounds left."
Johnson was asked about his second place finish after leading most of the race.
"Great way to start the chase for us, it's ten long races, and a lot can happen," Johnson told ESPN about finishing second. "Of course we want to be over there at victory lane, that's just a given, but we'll take this second and go onto the next one."
All 12 of the Chase drivers finished in the top 18 on Sunday. The win put Keselowski atop the points lead, Johnson now trails by three points.
Kasey Kahne finished in third, followed by Kyle Bush and Ryan Newman. The chase for the championship heads to New Hampshire next weekend.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio